Kohlrabi

I enjoyed another wonderful day with my friend Pat. She and I went to her friend and colleague’s open garden weekend. Pat is a violinist with the North Carolina Symphony, and her friend Deborah is the orchestra librarian. As I understand, Deborah has an annual open garden where friends come visit her garden and share plants. Today was my first time attending. She has a lovely backyard garden that is a dedicated work-in-progress. We celebrated the most recent addition — the launching of her deck — by enjoying a bottle of champaign. From her deck, Deborah can sit and enjoy the fruits of her labor. And that is literally true for Deborah. She has an espalier of apple trees, one of which she called a “Chimney” apple tree. As I recall her explaining, it was named such by the man who found it growing out of an old chimney. They have the only two examples of the tree in their gardens. I took a few photos of my favorite finds in her garden.

For lunch, Pat and I went to South at North Hills. It’s one of the four wonderful restaurants owned by Urban Food Group. I found a wonderful Hildago-like enamel ring at Charlotte’s, and Pat found some fun pajama bottoms at REI.

Then I napped on my deck in my new lounge chair. Sleeping outside is simply spectacular.

Oh, golly, I almost forgot. Last night Jay and I went to see the new Indiana Jones. He found it boring, noticing lots of mistakes, most especially for a work by Lucas and Spielberg. If you haven’t seen it yet, notice the mustard and ketchup bottles when Mutt is telling Indie about his mom and Ox being kidnapped. They get knocked over, in the very next scene are upright, only to be seen turned over and then set back up straight in that very next scene. For a movie about a 60-something Indiana Jones, I liked it fine enough. I am pleased to see Marion’s character return.

Yesterday, we also visited 9th Street in Durham, with lunch at George’s Garage. Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill each have their own distinct essences. It’s fun to play in the neighbor’s yard once in a while. I should have Jay tell you about the solar-powered flashlight he found at Cozy. ;o)

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Artsplosure

Artsplosure was this weekend in downtown Raleigh. I found a wonderful necklace made by Cary artist Wendy Pittillo-Rae, and am likely going to have her design a custom pendant. Silly Monkey had a stand, and I was thrilled to meet the two designers. La Ti Dogs in Raleigh carries their leashes and collars. I met a fellow West Virginian, Beth Crowder, who does pastels in West Union. That was pretty cool. I would love to visit her studio next time I go home, and I would love to have one of her pieces. There was a fellow from Charleston, South Carolina who did some wonderful stuff, some digitally enhanced photography as well as some hand-painted acrylic works. I got two of his pieces. He has a nice calligraphy style, and he joked that it took him a while to write like a girl. ;o) Here’s an example of his I found online.

Breeze

Sitting on my screened porch with my dogs and cats. Just got back from a short walk at Lake Benson. A nice little park, and a wonderful asset for the Town of Garner to have. The honeysuckle is out…that wonderful scent. I grew up across the street from a bank of honeysuckle. We looked forward to suckling the tastes every Spring.

Jay and I went to see the movie Iron Man last night. Great movie…great movie for Robert Downing to be in. He was superb. He actually lives a comic book kind of life…comfortable examining the depths of our dark sides with the lightness of fantasy. Comic books are about rising above ourselves, or outside of ourselves, even outside reality. I’ll give those who haven’t seen it the mandate to stay for all the credits. There is a tiny treat at the end.

Before the movie, we went to Fins Restaurant in downtown Raleigh. Loved my first pomegranate martini! Delight in a glass. The design and decor of the facility is top shelf. I didn’t ask, but I believe there were signature Thomas Sayer lights hanging from the ceiling. It’s such time that the Triangle, that Raleigh, is ushering in the feel of being in a city.

Speaking of, Garner now has three coffee shops. THREE. And truly, there are all great places. My long favorite has been Bushiban. My new favorite is Swift Creek Coffee, it’s within walking distance…big yeah!! And I also really am glad to have Aversboro Coffee…albeit a slightly longer walk. Hear our pleas town aldermen…bookstore….bookstore.

And ahhhh…one of the best things about Raleigh is Umstead State Park. Jules and Luna and I went yesterday for a lovely morning hike. For sixteen years, I’ve found such pleasure and anticipation driving down the slightly winding entrance off of Highway 70. I remember my first hike there was with my dog Reason, when she was still such a puppy that she had to finish the trail been carried. She and I walked that same trail many, many times. She hiked off leash and knew to keep me within eye sight. The only time she left the trail was to jump logs and to roll in the really good smelly stuff that can only be found in the woods. We shared such joy strolling along among the gentle bustle of those trees. Those are the moments where I can feel Reason still with me. When I close my eyes and feel the soft breeze, the tweets, and the chirps, and leaves rustling, and the musty notes of the leaves writing the future. She taught me to savor our moments….to see each one with not only eager eyes, but with a grateful soul.

Happy

I had a wonderful conversation with my sister Cherry this evening. The bond of a family who see you, who want to see you and embrace the you that you are, is an amazing thing.

Happy is a choice, an effort, not to let the world and the people in it bring you to face the sorrow that is. Its an action of choice to stop and breathe and not simply realize the moment, but to embrace it. In Wordsworth’s words, “Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he/That every man in arms should wish to be?/–It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought/Among the tasks of real life/hath wrought/Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:/Whose high endeavors are an inward light/That makes the path before him always bright;/Who, with a natural instinct to discern/What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn;/Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,/But makes his moral being his prime care;” To be generous of spirit, we should all be so driven.

Vote

My 18-year-old niece voted for the first time today. I remember going to vote my first time with my Dad. I can’t remember which election it was, but I remember the feeling of walking into the polling place. My niece is in WV and it looks like Clinton has taken that state. My sister Linda lives in Indiana, and she took that state, too. I have no problem with her taking the ticket, but I think Obama might be able to pull in more Republicans. And we need new vision and new energy. And we need fresh voters, like my niece.

House

Monday night, House is on. Watching, working, drinking wine. Little Sugar Plum’s mom was here to meet her for the first time. Sugar took right took her. She knew Joan had saved her life, finding her online all the way from New York here in North Carolina in the Person County animal shelter. They loved each other all those miles sight unseen.

It’s beautiful!

Saturday night, and the Indiana Jones triology is on. Raiders remains one of my favorite movies. I remember the sense of exhilaration I felt watching it that first time. Indie!!!!

Dogs are all laying quietly about, with the exception of Luna, who’s chewing a bone.

Pat and I enjoyed the garden tour today. Two of the gardens were like having an arboretum and a national park in your back yard. I’m going to see if I can load photos from the tour onto this blog. Check out the slideshow. I’m wanting to replace the wooden railing on my front porch with metal railing, and I saw a couple of nice examples. The best garden was on a property where the owner insightfully had the home built into the environment, saving the trees and natural outcroppings. The backyard drops 55 feet to Crabtree Creek. There was actually a moss garden, really lots of moss everywhere with stone walks throughout. Hundreds of mountain laurels remain untouched in nature. Since little was disturbed to build the home, the natural canopy allows the ecoclimate to continue just like the natural hillside it’s always been. Other than the stone walks and a wooden landing to enjoy the view, a winding, rock-filled water feature, more like a mountain brook, seemed to be the only man-made or man-introduced aspect of the garden. A wonderful quote was posted at the outlook above Crabtree Creek.

“yes, i get tired doing nothing…but a man can’t quit just because he gets tired.”

It’s the perfect garden for doing nothing. Pat joked that if she lived there, no one would ever see her again. ;o) I couldn’t blame her — I wouldn’t want to leave that paradise either.

Pat introduced me to a wonderful Mexican restaurant, Poncho Villa, on Chatham Street going into Cary. I’m going to try the gorditas next time.